As I’ve shared before, homeschooling was never something I thought I would be doing. You can read more about that journey HERE, but in short, after lots of prayer, conversations, and advice from people we deeply respect, we finally came to the conclusion that this was something the Lord was calling us to do – at least for a season.
And while I never expected to be in this role, the more we thought and prayed about it, the more excited I became.
I knew there would be some incredible benefits to being home with my kids and homeschooling them as they approached school age.
I knew that I would be able to build a strong academic foundation while also being able to pour into my kids spiritually. I wanted to be able to weave Biblical truths into our teaching and I knew that was not something that would be possible at a public school.
I loved the fact that I was going to know the nuances of my kids simply because I would have months and years to observe their behaviors. Having had my oldest in childcare until he was around 18 months, I loved the fact that now I was going to be the one who would pick up on little things that no one else might notice, simply because I was around them so much.
I looked forward to building strong relationships with my kiddos just because we would spend so much time together and do so many things together. The sheer quantity of time we would have together would be irreplaceable.
With two energy-filled boys, I was thankful that they were not going to be locked into an 8am-3pm class schedule at such young ages. They would have plenty of time to play, use their imaginations, run around outside, and not be subject to so many of the demands that are placed on our young children.
All of these things were things that I expected, or at least hoped, would come out of me leaving the classroom, staying home with my boys, and homeschooling. However, in the past few months, I have seen another incredible gift that has come out of this decision.
My boys are best friends.
And I’m not meaning the kind of “Well, we’re brothers so of course we’re friends.” No, I mean the kind of best friends that if they could choose anyone to do something with, both of my boys would choose each other.
Recently, we asked our boys individually (when the other one wasn’t around), “So, who would you say is your best friend?” Without hesitation, they both replied, “My brother.”
My oldest tends to be an early riser, and if he’s been awake for more than 10 minutes or so, he’s eagerly waiting for his brother to arise – sometimes going in and waking him up just because he “misses him so much” (his words, not mine).
When one of them gets hurt, the other one often cries too.
And just this past week, my boys were at AWANAS, and it was “Store Night.” My oldest picked out an item for himself and one just for his brother with his AWANA bucks. My younger son (who is in a younger class and doesn’t earn bucks just yet) got to pick one item from the store. When we picked them up, the gift my oldest had selected for his brother was the exact gift the younger son had picked out. He knew his brother so well that out of all the items in the store, he knew exactly which one his brother would want.
I’m not saying any of this to brag – believe me, they have their moments, and sometimes they really just need some space from one another.
But I share this because I truly believe that their closeness has come as a result of our choice to homeschool for this season.
This is our third year “officially” homeschooling our oldest and I started thinking. 3 years, approximately 180 school days every school year, at around 7 hours a day. That’s 3,780 hours that these boys have spent together that they otherwise would have been separate. And that’s a lot of time.
A lot of time to build a relationship. A lot of time to have shared memories. A lot of time to talk, laugh, and play together. Plenty of time to get on one another’s nerves, but also plenty of time to learn how to talk, forgive, and make-up.
I know that this isn’t a possibility for everyone, and I know that every kid is different, but the relationship that has developed between my boys is absolutely priceless. And one I pray that will only grow stronger over time.
We don’t know how long we will homeschool, but this unexpected gift is something I will always be grateful for!